The focus of this DP has been to pilot a variety of technology-based interventions in a number of settings in order to facilitate regeneration for communities, business growth for small and micro businesses, and skills development for individuals in a range of deprived areas.
There has been an emphasis on increasing the ability of small and micro businesses to survive and grow in the market through use of broadband and collaborative networking, and to promote flexible working to address retention issues, engagement of ethnic minorities and the third age sector (50+) to create sustainable economic advantage.
The overall aim of the programme is to develop a more inclusive Scottish workplace, which will contribute to social justice and allow the SME base to operate more competitively by using new broadband infrastructures to encourage sustainable business economic growth, in rural and disadvantaged areas.
- To promote the project to SMEs as a business advantage.
- To engage with employers to integrate work-life balance into their ethos and thereby develop practices that combat horizontal and vertical segregation in the economy by allowing full engagement of groups who find it difficult due to rural locations, ethnic culture, disability, gender and age.
- To operate in the context of the demographic time-bomb and develop good practice to combat anticipated labour and skill shortages.
- To establish collaborative networks with emerging clusters to create future sustainability.
A ‘smart community’ is one that provides an advanced communication and information infrastructure that enables residents and organisations to make good and independent use of, and gain benefit from, advanced telecommunications networks.
The Building Smarter Communities programme has been concentrating on these main activities using technological interventions:
- mini Mobile Learning Initiative coaches (Mini MOLIs)
- productive remote learning
- open source software
- mobile/wireless technology.
The DP has also been engaged in other activities:
working with BME communities
working with older workers
establishing the Connect project to create sustainable industry networks
establishing the Reach project to support staff development, working closely with SMEs in socially disadvantaged areas in Scotland.
Those who find it hard to realise their full potential due to rurality, ethnic culture, disability, gender and age
Third age sector (older workers)